London has many famous landmarks. Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and Royal Albert Hall are just a few of the things you might want to see while you’re in the city. But London’s most natural landmark, the thing you can not only see, but take a journey on, is the River Thames.
The wide, majestic River Thames meanders right through the center of the city and out to the surrounding suburbs and villages. It’s one of the most beautiful rivers you’ll ever have the pleasure of viewing, and there’s no better way to view it than from your table at one of London’s fabulous restaurants.
Here are several London restaurants that have amazing views of the Thames.
1. Tīng At Shangri-La The Shard
Tīng restaurant sits on level 35 of luxury hotel Shangri-La The Shard, with panoramic views over the Thames as well as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and other major landmarks.
Ting serves a Pan-Asian menu utilizing local British ingredients, with dishes such as marinated Thai scallops with chili, pomegranate dressing, and wasabi caviar; and sweet and sour lobster over fried rice with charred lime and green onion salad.
Desserts are created by Executive Pastry Chef Leyre Pedrazuela, a passionate and talented chef whose natural, high-end culinary creations recently led to a TV appearance on the UK’s Bake Off: The Professionals. Asian flavors also play a part in desserts, with hazelnut, pecan, and yuzu cake; chocolate and miso mousse; or lychee and raspberry pavlova for those who like to share.
2. CopperNose And 1665 At The Mitre
Opened in September 2020, The Mitre is a 36-bedroom, Grade II listed boutique hotel set on the banks of the River Thames near Hampton Court Palace. The hotel is home to two restaurants with incredible views of the Thames.
Coppernose is a vibrant, stylish, yet relaxed cocktail and wine bar that offers panoramic views of the river. This is where breakfast and brunch are served. Sample dishes include chicken milanese and truffle creme fraiche; an open bacon sandwich with ketchup on sourdough; and Clarence Court scrambled eggs served with cured Scottish salmon and chopped chives.
1665, named after the date The Mitre was built, is the property’s stunning all-day riverside brasserie. It boasts a central bar, wine room, open kitchen, and beautiful riverside terrace on the Thames. Sample dishes include confit duck and watermelon salad; truffle roasted chicken; and tamarind glazed pork chop.
3. The OXO Tower Restaurant
Perfect for a special occasion, or just if you want to push the boat out, The Oxo Tower Restaurant is fine dining with the most incredible views over the Thames. If it’s a nice day and you get the chance to sit out on the terrace, you feel as if you’re dining right on the river as it flows by. In the evening the city is lit up, and the reflections on the water bring an extra element to the atmosphere of your meal. The flavors in the dishes are delicate and are perfectly paired. The fish dishes are especially good, but if you’re really celebrating, go for the chateaubriand for two people as a sharing dish.
It’s a little bit expensive in here, so make sure you know what you’re in for before you visit. The menu is available to view online, and it’s a good idea to take a look so you’re not shocked by the prices.
4. Skylon At The Royal Festival Hall
Situated on the third floor of the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre, Skylon is perfectly positioned for incredible river views. The South Bank is a vibrant area with a lot going on, especially creative experiences and cute cafes and restaurants. Skylon is ideal for anyone visiting the Royal Festival Hall for a show, but it’s also a great restaurant for a special occasion.
A lot of people come to Skylon just for the bar. The cocktails are so good, and the atmosphere so welcoming, but it’s worth getting a table in the restaurant to try the incredible steaks. Skylon is also very good at accommodating anyone with dietary requirements. They will go out of their way to make sure you have something amazing to eat, no matter what your needs are.
You can request a window seat when you book your table and you’ll be guaranteed an excellent view of the Thames with riverboats floating past while you eat.
5. Brindisa, Richmond
A little way out of Central London, in Richmond, you can eat Spanish tapas by the river at Brindisa. This is a lovely tapas bar — where you can still eat tapas at the bar — in a beautiful location. If it’s nice enough to sit outside, it’s like a perpetual lazy Sunday morning with the riverboats sailing by gently on the water.
Brindisa boasts over 80 percent organic or vegan wines, and they strive to source all their ingredients locally, bringing you authentic Spanish tapas from British products — an impressive feat. The selection of cheeses is especially good, and you really get the impression the cheeses have been selected with a genuine passion for taste. If you want to go to Brindisa for a special occasion or you want to make a group booking, you can book the Bodega Room, which gives you a space that’s just yours. This room is also sometimes used for tastings and events.
Brindisa runs a monthly supper club, focusing on a different region of Spain each month. You have to book ahead, but it’s a great way to experience something a little different, and you’ll learn a lot about regional Spanish food.
6. The River Café, Hammersmith
Located in Thames Warf Studios, an iconic and historic building which was originally an industrial building for an oil facility, The River Café offers a traditional Italian menu with some flair. The position of the restaurant is perfect for watching the river go by, and if you get a table outside on a nice day, it’s a relaxing way to enjoy a meal.
I love Italian food, so it’s always going to be a winner with me, but to find an Italian restaurant in such a beautiful location, and within a historic London building, too, is pretty unique. I’d recommend the ravioli with buffalo ricotta and the Corish monkfish. They also make a mean negroni in the bar.
The River Café runs a seasonal menu, so you’ll find something different is offered depending on when you visit. This is done to reflect the seasons in the dishes, but also so seasonal ingredients can be sourced locally.
7. Sea Containers
If you like your restaurant with a theme, or just something a little bit quirky, you’ll love Sea Containers. As you might guess by the name, Sea Containers is nautical themed and stands a little more on the unusual side than most restaurants. Its position on the South Bank gives diners incredible views of The Thames.
This restaurant provides relaxed dining with a fun element, great for anyone who doesn’t like things to be too formal. There’s even a separate children’s menu here.
If you love it here so much you don’t want to leave, you can book a room, a suite, or even an apartment, and keep on gazing out over the river. The building itself, after all, was originally designed as a hotel.
You can book private dining, or you can ask for a quiet table where you can try the oysters with a glass of sauvignon blanc while gazing out at the river. You can’t get much more perfect for London dining.
Bonus: Sindhu, Marlow
The Thames stretches far out of London, to some pretty locations along its meandering banks. If you make it out to Marlow, a small town just outside London in Buckinghamshire, you’ll come across a beautiful riverside hotel, The Compleat Angler. Waiting to be discovered within the Compleat Angler is an Indian restaurant called Sindhu.
This is not a regular Indian restaurant like the ones you might find in any city center — this is fine Indian dining. Run by Atul Kochhar, a well-respected restaurateur, Sindhu enjoys a tranquil position by the Thames in a peaceful setting away from the busy city. The Telangana seafood pulusu is incredible, and they also serve some amazing champagne cocktails and a really good selection of mocktails.
Marlow is a really pretty small town right on the banks of the Thames. It takes about an hour to get there from Central London, so it makes a lovely day trip if you’re staying in the city.